TIGERS UPSET: Breakers earn win over minor premiers
THE Coffs Harbour Breakers scored a stunning upset win over minor premiers Grafton Tigers and will host four of the five AFL North Coast semi finals this weekend.
With a spot in the grand final already locked away, Grafton were quick out of the blocks, kicking three goals to none in the first quarter, to lead by 20 points at the first break. However, the Breakers hit back in the second term, registering four goals to two, to trail at half time by just nine points.
The third quarter was a mirror image of the second, with the Breakers asserting their dominance through another four goal to two quarter, to go into the final change three points up, and with the benefit of both the momentum and the breeze.
When Breakers kicked the first goal of the term it looked as though they were well on their way to victory but Grafton dug deep, as they have done all season, and booted the next two to level the scores. The tension was palpable as the second draw of the season appeared to be on the cards but a late Breakers goal sealed a magnificent six point win for the away team.
With a home semi final on offer, the Breakers just had too much to play for. They will now prepare to take on the Sawtell Toormina Saints at Fitzroy Oval this weekend for a place in the grand final. Grafton get the opportunity to ponder this loss and the learnings they can take out of it, as they have this week off, and prepare to play in their first senior grand final since they last won the flag in 2012.
Main goal scorers for the Breakers were Michael McMahon with three and Jay Guthrie with two. For the Tigers, two goals were kicked by each of Sam Morrison, Lee Anderson, and Aaron Ashby.
Coffs Harbour Breakers 10.10 (70) defeated Grafton Tigers 9.10 (64)
At Wayne Richards Park, Port Macquarie were looking to finish their season on a high, as they took on the Sawtell Toormina Saints.
Both teams started the game slowly, only registering one goal apiece in the opening term. The Saints' inaccuracy in front of goal kept the Magpies in the game, with Sawtell's half time lead of 28 points including eleven minor scores.
The home team's hopes of an upset victory fell away in the third quarter, as they could only register three behinds to the Saints' three goals This lead was only extended in the last quarter as Sawtell got to work, kicking five goals to one in the last.
Scoring has proved difficult for Port throughout the season, and they will need to look at their forward line options through the off-season to improve in this area in 2021. The Magpies were served well through the day by Nathan Cameron-Hancock, Kye Taylor, and Blake Nelson.
The Saints will take the 75 point win, but rue not winning by a much larger margin, with their inaccurate kicking in front of goal letting them down. Hamish Anderson was the Saints' best in front of the goals with three, with Lachlan Draper-Bell and Daniel Pritchard kicking two each.
Sawtell Toormina Saints 13.23 (101) defeated Port Macquarie Magpies 3.8 (26)
In the final Women's game for the home and away season, Ellem Oval played host to the Coffs Harbour Breakers and Northern Beaches Blues.
The Breakers secured their spot in the grand final several weeks, ago, but certainly haven't been taking their foot off the accelerator.
The game started on the Breakers terms, as they registered seven scoring shots to none in a strong first quarter. Although the Blues kicked their first goal in the second quarter, another four Breakers majors extended their half time lead to 35 points and the upset was looking a long way off.
Any sniff the Blues had in the second half was wiped away by a dominant Breakers defence who only conceded one scoring shot for the entire match and kept the Blues scoreless in the second half.
The Breakers managed another four second half goals to see the final margin at 62 points.
Katika Adams was the star for the Breakers, booting a game high six goals, while Amy Johanson kicked three.
The Breakers will now sit back and watch the Blues and Saints square off in the semi final this weekend to find out who their grand final opponent will be. Congratulations to the Breakers on their undefeated home and away season. They will certainly take some beating come grand final day.
Coffs Harbour Breakers 10.8 (68) defeated Northern Beaches Blues 1.0 (6)